Why ‘It Meant a Lot’ to Prince Harry for Princess Diana’s Sisters to Attend Archie's Christening

Prince Harry shared an exceedingly close bond with his late mother, Princess Diana — and today, that bond continues with his mother’s family.

Diana’s sisters, Lady Sarah McCorquodale, 64, and Lady Jane Fellowes, 62, feature prominently in the family portrait taken at Windsor Castle when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle celebrated the christening of their 8-week-old son, Archie Harrison. Also featured: Prince William and Kate Middleton; Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall; and Meghan’s mom, Doria Ragland.

“Harry is close to Diana’s family,” a royal source tells PEOPLE in this week’s cover story. “In the same way that it was important for [Harry and Meghan] to include both Doria’s and Diana’s family in the official Buckingham Palace birth announcement, it meant a lot to them to share a photo of their full family.”

The Spencer sisters, who are both now grandmothers, live out of the spotlight in England, but they and their brother Charles, 9th Earl Spencer, 55, were among the first to be notified of Archie’s birth — and their children and grandchildren remain close with both William and Harry.

A family friend says the inclusion of the Spencers “is typical of both William and Harry to say in a very, very gentle way, ‘This is the family of our mother, and we want to reflect that.’ She is always in their hearts, but this is a public way of saying that she is still on their minds.”

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As for whether Lady Jane and Lady Sarah are among Archie’s chosen godparents, Meghan and Harry have opted to keep that information private — for one big reason.

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“These are friends, private citizens, not celebrities or public figures,” the source tells PEOPLE. “Meghan and Harry wanted to protect them from the inevitable onslaught: ‘When did you meet them? How?’ That was the driving reason [to keep them private].

“It’s a very personal thing to ask somebody to be a godparent,” the source adds.

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